[tlhIngan Hol] expressing "the nerve of this guy"

Steven Boozer sboozer at uchicago.edu
Tue Jul 13 13:31:20 PDT 2021

I thought of {qajunpaQ} “courage,  audacity “ too, but this seems to be a form or recklessness in battle, perhaps of the sort that usually gets one killed.  "You speak of courage. Obviously you do not know the difference between courage and foolhardiness." (Kor, TOS "Errand of Mercy")

And AFAIK we have one example:

 SomrawDu'Daj teb qajunpaQ
  His muscles filled with rage (PB)

What mayqel is looking for is the Klingon equivalent of *chutzpah*.   Of the available options the expression {butlh ghajbogh nuv'e' yIHo'} “Admire the person with dirt under his fingernails” seems to me the closest:

(TKW 142):  The Klingon word {butlh} (“dirt under fingernails”) can be taken literally, but in this expression it means something like “effrontery, impudence, brazenness."

   WORF:        Sir, may I say your attempt to hold the away team at bay, with a
                        non-functioning weapon, was an act of unmitigated gall.
   UXBRIDGE: Didn't fool you, huh?
   WORF:        I admire gall.  [TNG "The Survivors"]

[I’m not sure which word Worf was thinking of here, but it probably wasn’t {HuH} “bile, gall”. <g>  Probably a bit of both.]

mayqel rejected {butlh} because he thought it a positive trait, and the speaker in his example clearly doesn’t.  Well, that’s *chutzpah* -- “brazenness”.  Leo Rosten in his _The Joys of Yiddish_ gave the classic definition as "that quality enshrined in a man who, having killed his mother and father, throws himself on the mercy of the court because he is an orphan."  (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chutzpah )  Most people don’t actually admire  *chutzpah* but some find it amusing.


From: Alan Anderson

On Tue, Jul 13, 2021 at 7:53 AM mayqel qunen'oS wrote:

In english we say "can you believe, the nerve of this guy?", which I think is described by one of the meanings of the adjective "bold" as "impudent/presumptuous", as is shown here:


Also, according to merriam-webster one of the definitions of "nerve"

is: "assurance, boldness also: presumptuous audacity: gall".


So, I ask..

You want to say "Can you imagine the nerve of that guy? Although he crashed my car, he wants me to pay for the damages he caused to that poor man's house too".
How would you express in klingon this meaning of the word "nerve"?

qajunpaQ  "audacity"

"In Klingon, it implies courage of a rather surprising or unexpected kind, perhaps even recklessness, as opposed to toDuj (courage, bravery), which is more neutral."

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